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Three Game-Changing Shortcuts in Premiere Pro

Aaron Williams

These three shortcuts in Adobe Premiere Pro have had a huge impact on the way I edit. They could make a big difference to you too!


A few months ago I was working on a post about editing keyboard shortcuts for my personal website. I asked a few editors to look over the article and give me some feedback, and I got quite the gem on Twitter from editor Joel Yeaton. He mentioned a set of commands in Premiere Pro CC that I hadn’t heard of before: Ripple Trim [Next/Previous] Edit to Playhead. It was like a revelation. I took his advice and assigned the commands to “Q” and “W” like this:


Here’s how these commands work when mapped like above: Lets say you’re cutting down some some interviews to meet your target time. After reviewing, you decide that you want to trim off the beginning of a specific clip. You could do this with the mouse by holding command to select ripple mode, clicking the beginning of the clip you want then dragging it to your new in point. You could also select the beginning of the clip and use multiple trim commands like Trim +/-. You could also do it the long way and make a cut, select the part you don’t want, then ripple delete it.

All of these are valid ways of performing that edit, but they all take multiple steps or require you to use the mouse. Instead, just one press of “Q” does all of the above. It takes the nearest edit before the playhead and ripple trims it to the playhead. You can see it in action here:


When mapped like I mentioned above, Ripple Trim Next Edit to Playhead mapped to the “W” key does the exact same thing, but you use it to trim the end of a clip to make it end earlier. It ripple trims the nearest edit after the playhead to the where the playhead is, moving everything after the edit as well. You can see it in action here:


The last Premiere Pro shortcut is one I’ve found useful when needing to delete whole clips from the timeline. The Select Clip at Playhead command does just what it says – any clips that the playhead is on are selected (but it does follow your specified track targeting):


I have this command mapped to “/”, and I use this the most when reviewing rough edits and deleting whole clips or sections to cut down for time. If it’s just one clip with no B-roll above it, you can use the Mark Clip command and “Extract” to remove the clip, but what if there’s b-roll on the tracy above that you want gone as well, but it doesn’t line up perfectly with the accompanying clip? Using the Select Clip at Playhead command will let you select them both, then delete with one stroke. See it in action here:

Select-Clip-at-Playhead (1)

These three Premiere Pro shortcuts have been unbelievably useful in cutting down story lines to fit a specific time. I generally do a storyline-only edit before I lay in any b-roll, and these commands let me go through my interview or story content and quickly trim down and delete clips to reach my target time without ever having to reach for the mouse. These have become so ingrained in my daily editing workflow that during a recent project when I had to go back and edit in FCP7, I found my editing speed severely handicapped without them!

So there are 3 great shortcuts that have made a big difference in my daily editing. I’ve told you how I mapped them, but the beauty and power of an NLE is that you can change the keys to whatever suits you best! Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!